You’ve planned your route, have the right shoes on, comfortable clothes and a drink carrier is in your hand. But are you protected from the sun? Not many of us think about it as part of our pre-walk checklist. But it's just as important to keep your skin protected whether going out for a country ramble or doing a town trail as it is when you are spending time on a sunny beach.
Although the sun is especially strong when the sky is blue and there is not a cloud in sight, up to 90% of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate clouds and leave walkers very much at risk even during overcast days.
Abi Cleeve from leading Swiss sun care brand Ultrasun, based in Reigate offers her top tips to keep you healthy and safe in the sun:
How and when you apply sun protection matters: Always apply sun protection to cool, clean, dry skin in the shade (ideally indoors) 15-30 minutes before you go into the sun. It’s important that this step is followed regardless of what sun cream brand you choose as if applied in direct sunlight, sun cream can evaporate before it has even had a chance to bond with the skin and therefore becomes less effective. All Ultrasun products are once a day application providing long lasting protection. Doing this first thing keeps everyone protected and it’s also one less thing to pack for the walking route.
Some body parts are more vulnerable than others: Apply sun cream liberally to all exposed, or potentially exposed, parts of the body. Don’t forget the ears, back of neck and lip area. The upper lip is very exposed to the sun and the rays often reflects into the cupid’s bow area. The lower lip has a little shadow which helps to protect this area. Hence, the upper lip shows the signs of ageing long before the lower because it’s completely exposed apply Ultralip SPF 30 throughout the day to protect, moisturise and comfort.
Understand shade: To avoid the peak potency of the sun, take shade breaks between 11-3pm. Shade given by trees and parasols only gives protection from around 70% of UV rays. Your walking route may not allow you to do this so out of the shade, remember a simple shadow rule: The shorter your own shadow, the higher the sun and the greater the risk.
Remember the 3s rule – sunhat, shirt and sun cream: Always wear brimmed hats or a cap with a cloth flap that covers the back of the neck to protect the scalp from burning. Use sun protection products with an SPF20 or above. Ultrasun Sports Gel SPF 20 (£16) is a non-greasy, clear liquid that is gentle enough to use on the scalp (ideal for thinning or receding hair)
Know your labels: Please do check that your product has an adequate SPF and strong UVA protection. UVA rays penetrate deeply, right down to the subcutaneous layers of the skin and do long term damage. Look for the new UVA in a circle sign on the bottle or better still check with the manufacturer the % of UVA protection in your product. The EU standard is 33% of the SPF rating but products from Ultrasun all have a UVA of over 90%.
Pick the right SPF factor: Skin that is not used to the sun is less able to protect itself. Under the influence of UV rays, the skin begins to thicken and starts producing melanin. These processes take 10-20 days to take place, so use extra protection while your skin is adjusting to the sun. Know your sun account and that there is a difference between an SPF of 50 or 50+. An SPF 50 is tested to be exactly that but a 50+ must achieve at least an SPF 58 to get that all important "+" sign. Ultrasun Extreme SPF50+ contains no perfume, emulsifiers or preservatives making it the go to choice for those with ultra sensitive skin to avoid sun allergies and prevent prickly heat.
Remember to drink plenty of water!: This will ensure that your skin (and body) stays hydrated throughout the day.
Ultrasun products are available from QVC, M&S, John Lewis, World Duty Free and other stores nationwide or direct at ultrasun.co.uk
8 May 2015